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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Hague: tributes and criticism
William Hague makes his resignation speech with his wife Ffion by his side

Tory veterans give their views on William Hague's resignation, and express their hopes for the future, as speculation mounts over who will replace him as party leader.


Young politician

William Hague at the age of 16
William Hague at the age of 16

Back in 1977, William Hague seemed destined for high office since he made a precocious speech to the Tory party conference at the tender age of 16. The BBC's political correspondent Shaun Ley looks at his career.

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'No man is indispensable'

William Hague makes his resignation speech
William Hague makes his resignation speech

On June 8 2001, in a dramatic statement outside Conservative Central Office, Mr Hague said he would stand down after four years at the helm as soon as a successor was chosen. "No man is indispensable. No man is more important than the party," he said.

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 Click here to watch a report of the day's events by the BBC's Laura Trevelyan


'He got the issues wrong'

Former Deputy PM Michael Heseltine
Former Deputy PM Michael Heseltine

Former Deputy PM Michael Heseltine criticised Mr Hague for fighting on the wrong issues and failing to take account of social changes such as the rise of multi-culturalism. He said the party had presented an image of "a right-wing xenophobic party talking to itself in a very introspective way."

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'The party of Europe'

Former Tory Home Secretary Lord Brittan
Former Tory Home Secretary Lord Brittan

Former Tory Home Secretary Lord Brittan said "the Eurosceptic card was played for all it was worth and it was very easily trumped." In his view, the Tories used to be the party of Europe and could be again.

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Portillo for leader?

Tory vice-chairman Steven Norris
Tory vice-chairman Steven Norris

While not naming names himself, Tory vice-chairman Steven Norris said most members were likely to support Michael Portillo. The task now, he added, was to create a party people felt comfortable with.

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'Sad defeat'

Former Tory minister Ken Clarke
Former Tory minister Ken Clarke

Former Tory minister Ken Clarke is being mooted as another leadership contender. But he said he needed a period of reflection first, speaking only of the 'sad defeat', and passing on his best wishes to the vanquished.

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'We will be back'

Baroness Thatcher
Baroness Thatcher

Speaking briefly in the aftermath of William Hague's resignation, Baroness Thatcher said it was a disappointing result for him and his supporters after their 'tireless' work. She added: "The Conservative Party will be back."

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